Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Disney, Royal Canin. What do these companies have in common?
They all started in a garage.
Over 50 years ago, a French veterinary surgeon who wanted to improve the health of the pets in his practice decided to formulate his own dog food. Eventually, the business took off and now, Royal Canin is one of the most well-recognized pet food manufacturers in the world.
The company prides itself on providing science-based nutrition and they back it up with more than just words. They have research facilities and 125+ published studies in peer-reviewed journals, not to mention the fact that they’ve formulated special foods for dogs and cats.
In this review, we’ll look at Royal Canin kitten food to find out whether the extra cost is worth it.
Is Royal Canin Healthy for Cats?
First, the bad news. In 2007, a series of recalls rocked the pet world after a number of cats died of kidney failure. It turns out, a rice protein imported from China, included in many pet food formulas, contained melamine — a toxic chemical. The good news is — Royal Canin recalled all products containing the rice protein voluntarily and there were no associated deaths with Royal Canin foods.
Apart from that unfortunate incident in 2007, the company has a clean track record and continues to innovate with tailored nutrition. The ingredients used in Royal Canin foods are high quality, however both wet and dry foods contain some fillers/preservatives. All of the ingredients are safe of course and there shouldn’t be any issue health-wise (although this may make you reconsider the price tag).
Another great aspect of Royal Canin’s philosophy is providing nutrition based on breed and special needs. Going on reviews, cats and kittens adore Royal Canin food (with exception to the Urinary SO food we’ll look at in the next section). The food is nutritious, packed with vitamins, minerals and is easily digestible, albeit the variety in flavors is a bit strange (only 1 flavor!).
Overall, Royal Canin food is a healthy choice for cats and kittens alike. Especially if your kitty has special nutritional needs (gastrointestinal problems, spayed/neutered, purebred)
Royal Canin Urinary SO Cat Food Side Effects
Urinary issues are a real pain in the… well, you get it.
With age, adult cats can develop kidney stones, which can cause inflammation and severe pain when they become dislodged and end up in the urinary tract. The Urinary SO line of foods was developed to support urinary health by dissolving existing stones and helping to prevent them from forming.
The Urinary SO line consists of dry food, wet food and cat treats. Again, these are available in only 1 flavor. However, despite the lack of variety, if your veterinarian recommends Urinary SO, it can provide true relief.
But recently, a series of scathing reviews has shifted our view. In December 2019, a user rang the “first alarm bell” after noticing their cat vomited immediately after eating the Urinary SO dry food. Upon further investigation, many users have reported similar side effects, some even mentioning an increase in stone formation. The cause of this is purported to be a formula change — specifically the addition of wheat instead of egg product.
It’s unclear what’s causing cats to violently vomit, but the 50+ negative reviews on Royal Canin’s website are enough evidence for us to say it’s worth waiting until the issue is solved or finding an alternative.
Royal Canin Kitten Dry Food
What really stands out with Royal Canin isn’t their variety in flavor (still just 1 flavor) — it’s the variety of formulas. To date, there are six dry kitten food formulas. We’ll take a close look at five of them and in the next section, we’ll show you the sixth separately.
We’ll review the ingredients (compared to the regular formula), macronutrient analysis, calorie content and ratings on Chewy.com.
Designed for kittens transitioning from milk to solid food as well as pregnant and nursing mama cats. For kittens, you need to rehydrate the dry food with water. Packed with the right nutrition for healthy bones, teeth and joints.
Ingredients the regular formula doesn’t have - DL-Methionine (essential amino acid), Monocalcium Phosphate (source of calcium and phosphorus), Glucosamine Hydrochloride + Chondroitin Sulfate (for healthy joints)
You shouldn’t take your spayed or neutered kitten’s diet lightly. Post-procedure hormone changes are likely to happen, so if you don’t want your kitten to pack on the pounds, this dry food is a great option. Less fat = fewer calories.
Ingredients the regular formula doesn’t have - Pea Fiber (all-natural source of dietary fiber), Monocalcium Phosphate (source of calcium and phosphorus), DL-Methionine (essential amino acid)
Crude Protein (min) - 34.0%
Crude Fat (min) - 10.0%
Crude Fiber (max)- 12.0%
Calories: 282 calories per cup
Chewy - 4.8/5
Royal Canin also has two separate formulas specifically for Maine Coons and Persian kittens which target the caloric and nutritional requirements of both beautiful breeds. Please note that apart from differences in ingredients, the concentration of certain nutrients also varies between all of Royal Canin’s dry foods. That’s why they call it tailored nutrition.
Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Cat Food
Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and other symptoms are called gastrointestinal (GI) issues. They can be caused by a lot of things but Royal Canin’s best medicine is a special blend of fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes gut health and is packed with prebiotics and proteins for perfect poop.
Royal Canin offers a dry and wet food for cats with GI issues:
The wet food comes in a 5.1 oz can that has an impressive 137 calories per can. It’s an “ultra-soft mousse” with a chicken and pork flavor.
The dry food is available in a 4.4-lb and 7.7-lb bag and has 475 calories per cup.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet reviews
Royal Canin’s approach to special diets is impressive. Kittens can easily transition to adult-cat-hood and continue on a vet diet.
Cats/kittens with GI problems can breathe a sigh of relief after going to the bathroom
Be wary of the Urinary SO food as the recent reviews are very alarming after the recent formula change
The Verdict - So is Royal Canin Good Food for Kittens?
Royal Canin kitten food is quite expensive so we wouldn’t want to guilt trip you into buying something your kitten doesn’t really need. However, it’s hard to ignore the attention to detail (especially the science) and the amount of veterinarians that recommend their products.
Like other pet food makers, there have been some hiccups (recalls, issues with Urinary SO food) but we feel confident in saying that Royal Canin kitten food is a great choice. Aside from a lack of flavor variety, the dry and wet foods are nutrient-dense and are catered to specific dietary requirements.
Royal Canin cat food review
Has everything a growing kitten needs — easily digestible proteins, fiber and prebiotics.
Selection of flavors could be better
Specialized formulas for Maine Coon and Persian kittens
Covers veterinary diets for kittens with urinary tract problems and gastrointestinal issues
Royal Canin provides better information on feeding and transitioning than other cat food manufacturers we’ve reviewed
In our opinion, if Royal Canin can solve the Urinary SO food conundrum, they will regain favor in the pet community. They’re already on the right track — they launched a 24/7 free live chat with certified vets so pet owners can get advice while vet clinics are closed during these tough times.
Is Royal Canin bad for kittens?
No, it's actually good and suitable for most breeds. Unless your kitten is allergic to some of the ingredients, Royal Canin food should be perfectly safe even for kitties in their first weeks and months.
Why do vets recommend Royal Canin for kittens?
As one of the oldest cat food manufacturers, Royal Canin sells products certified by the AAFCO. Besides, most foods, including prescription diets, are created by professional nutritionists and tested by thousands of pet owners. Few of the newer brands can boast the same trust and reputation as this company.
Why are there grains and by-products in Royal Canin food for kittens?
Despite the latest hype surrounding them, neither is bad for your kitten's health. In fact, grains are a perfectly healthy source of carbohydrates, while by-products supply the proteins. Besides, Royal Canin food does not use artificial additives that are way more harmful.
How much Royal Canin food should I feed to my kitten?
Use the directions on the pack to measure the right daily dose based on your kitty's age, weight, and activity level. You'll find recommendations for a kibble-only diet and a combination with wet food. Divide the amount into three or four meals spread throughout the day.
How much protein is there in Royal Canin kitten food?
Kitten kibble is enriched with protein for healthy muscle development and boasts over 30% crude protein. Wet food is unsurprisingly less nutritious and holds only 12% of protein. You can find detailed info on nutritional value and ingredients on the pack.